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Vol. 36 (2016)

The Influence of Motherhood on STEM Women Academics' Perceptions of Organizational Support, Mentoring and Networking

  • Liza Howe-Walsh
  • Sarah Turnbull
  • Emmanouil Papavasileiou
  • Nikos Bozionelos
June 14, 2017


The lack of women in senior positions in STEM within higher education is an ongoing concern. Identifying the barriers that STEM women face to progress their careers remains an important area of research. While previous studies have explored some of challenges associated with the gendered culture within higher education, less is known about the additional barriers faced by women with children. Using a survey of STEM women in the UK this study examines the influence motherhood has on women's perceptions of organisational support, mentoring and networking and identifies that STEM women with children are found to have less opportunity to engage with mentoring or to benefit from formal or informal networks within the institution. The findings have significant implications for the career progression of women with children and suggest that review of HR policy and practice to facilitate greater organisational support and in particular mentoring and networking requires the institution to take a far more proactive approach.

Keywords: Women, STEM, networking, higher education.